Hart Center

November 13, 2010
Hart Center (Capacity: 3,600)
Worcester, MA
Holy Cross Crusaders vs College of Charleston Cougars
Final Score: 84 – 93


On the opening weekend of the College Basketball season, we made the three-hour trip up to Central Massachusetts for a stadium double-header, starting at Holy Cross’ Hart Center. The College of Holy Cross is a small, private, catholic school that is very well regarded and quite desirable to attend. The school is one of many colleges across the city of Worcester, which is the second largest in the state with a population around 200,000. Thus, Wormtown is much more city (and a rather generic one to visit) than quaint college town. The Crusaders have a storied basketball history, winning the 1947 National Championship with Bob Cousy on the team. More recently, as members of the Patriot League, they have made the NCAA Tournament four times in the last decade with very competitive games as high seeds in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The Hart Center was built in 1975 and features one of the better atmospheres in the league.
Prestige Ranking: 3 out of 5


As mentioned, there really is not much to do as Worcester’s “attractions” include an Art Museum and fairly typical things seen in mid-sized cities. Not much interested me, though I wouldn’t have minded checking out the city’s small History Museum. Downtown is a 5-minute drive away as Holy Cross is a bit south of the city, within the College Hill neighborhood. That name is no joke as you certainly are up on a hill. Campus is beautiful and Holy Cross is small enough that you can make a pleasant walk through it in a short time with aesthetically pleasing visuals all around. Just have strong calves as there undoubtedly will be some uphill walking. The arena is situated on the far south side of campus, with some athletic fields behind the building.
Location Ranking: 4.5 out of 10

Accessibility / Parking

It’s a fairly easy drive coming in from I-290, you just need to make sure you enter through the appropriate school entrance, or you’ll be weaving through many campus roads. The one that brings you to Upper Campus Road is what you want and the parking here seemed plentiful. I didn’t have any problems or delays leaving, but keep in mind that most cars will exit on a narrow road to get back to College Ave and I-290, so it may become congested.
Accessibility / Parking Ranking: 7.5 out of 8


The building itself is simple and plain, built with brick. Fans entering from the front will see the outlines of the square basketball arena on the left and more rectangular hockey rink on the right. In the center, is the indented entrance with a few doors and “Hart Recreation Center” written just above that.
Exterior Ranking: 2.5 out of 10


Walking through the opening doors brings you to the lone concourse of the building, which is a carpeted hallway. Certainly not enough room for a sellout and it was tight before the game and at the half. Ticket windows are to the right when you enter and the walls of the “concourse” have some nice display cases for Holy Cross athletics.
Concourse Ranking: 1 out of 5


Food offerings were the usual, sans burgers. There was one table in the corner though selling “Uncle Jay’s Homemade Chili and More” with the “and more” part being sausage and pulled pork. I bet that chili tastes mighty good on those cold, blustery Worcester nights up on the hill.
Food Ranking: 4 out of 8


This is certainly more like a gym than anything else, but one that does feature some character. The seating closest to the floor is in the form of wooden bleachers that are in four sections following the outlines of the court (none in the corners). The odd thing about these seats is there’s no aisle and the seats are numbered from basket to basket, so I would assume on full nights, you just have to ask everyone to slide over as you climb up to the last (11th) row. Next up, are three rows of chairback, purple seats that surround the court in an octagon shape, just without the ends. There is a walkway that goes 360° above those seats and this allows for some standing room. Lastly, there is a third “level” of bleachers on the sidelines. It’s an arena that seems kind of awkwardly pieced together for the seating.
Interior Ranking: 5 out of 14


The scoreboards on this night were horrendous. There is one on each end wall for score, time, period and whether a team is in the bonus. Below that, is an attached digital board that sometimes has old graphics and during the game has the stats (player info and team fouls/timeouts). Unfortunately, only one of these worked and it functioned for about a 1/3rd of the game. Coaches had to keep coming to the scorer’s table to ask for foul information.
Scoreboard Ranking: 0.5 out of 4


Near the entrance, there is a full-size statue of Bob Cousy and a brief description of his career. This is a good introduction to the arena and the program’s most famous player. Along the walls of the interior hallway are several display cases, with the most prominent feature being one dedicated to the successful teams of the 40s and 50s. There is also a Hall of Fame on one of the walls for the best Crusaders in all sports. Inside, the Hart Center does a nice job displaying banners and honors the history of Holy Cross nicely. Above the sidelines are all of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA and NIT appearances. The 1947 championship has the same design and look as all the other banners and I was disappointed to not see the championship distinguished in a different way. They did make up for it though with team pictures of that squad and the 1954 NIT championship team on one of the end walls. Also hanging up in the rafters are four honored (not retired) jerseys for: Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, George Kaftan and Togo Palazzi.
Displays Ranking: 4 out of 6


Parking was free, as it usually is for the lower-level schools and programs were a buck. Tickets were either $10 or $14, depending upon whether you want a seat with a back. These are just about the highest in the league. Food prices were completely reasonable, except for the kettle corn which was an out-of-place $5.
Cost Ranking: 7 out of 8

Fan Support

Holy Cross has perennially been second in conference attendance, only behind Bucknell. However, a poor trend in attendance has taken place the last four years as it has gone down by nearly 1,000, a significant number when your place only holds 3,600. Likely this has to do with the poor team play of late, though it was nice to see a decent crowd (2,966) for our game.
Fan Support Ranking: 5 out of 8


The atmosphere for Holy Cross’ home opener was great as fans were into it and the place was loud. I was particularly impressed with the student section, wearing ‘Sader Nation shirts. It was full behind one basket, and the other end filled up as the game went on as well. They led the crowd with “Let’s go Saders” cheers and they were also basketball smart with chants like “Freshmen” to one of the opposing players at the line. Holy Cross also had a nice sized pep band. The crowd tried to rally the team back a few times as the Crusaders occasionally pulled closer in the game.
Atmosphere Ranking: 8.5 out of 14

Other Stuff

The Hart Recreation Center also is home to the Crusader hockey team as they play at a separate 1,400-seat rink inside the building. Swimming and Diving also takes place in a different section…..One of the things that always jumped out at me if I saw a Holy Cross game on TV were those big numbers outlined in gold or white that are on the walls above the top seating. These go around the arena 1 thru 10, awkwardly defining the sections for the highest seating…..The speaker system before the game is very loud.


In the game, the visiting College of Charleston Cougars showed me they are an NCAA Tournament quality team. Led by Coach Bobby Cremins, the Cougars were remarkably efficient offensively, shooting 63% for the game and going 9/16 from the three-point line. Holy Cross shot very well too, but had a terrible free throw night, starting 8 for 17. It was competitive for the first twelve minutes and then the Crusaders slipped behind. Twice, Holy Cross tried to fight back, but they never could cut the lead to less than eight and CofC pulled away for the 93-84 win. Andrew Gouldelock had 18 points and 6 assists, while Andrew Keister had 16 for Holy Cross.

Stadium Experience Ranking: 52.5 out of 100


  1. Hey, what you do is great and I find very interesting. With that being said though I think you should take the time and go back and look at some of the new renovations. In particular Holy Cross who added a beautiful practice facility and field (120+ yards for all sports including football,) they also made a new court The feel of the stadium is much more modern but still has a “high school” feel to it. It conclusion, the Hart center at the Luth is very cool and worth checking out, thanks.

    1. Thanks Tim, I appreciate the feedback. Yeah, with a one-time visit, the review can get outdated quickly with so many buildings getting renovated these days, it’s hard to keep up. I have yet to visit Fitton Field for a football game, so I’m looking forward to getting back to Holy Cross at some point down the road and seeing the updates to the Hart Center.

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